One of the top specialist anglers in the Nash stable, Duncan Charman (pictured below) shares his tips and tricks, along with Chris Petter, as he fishes the best crucian water in the country!
MOVING from the deserted banks of the orfe lake was difficult, especially knowing that our next mini campaign would be at Godalming AS’s Johnson’s (Enton) lake – without a doubt the best crucian water in the country and one that attracts the attention of numerous specimen anglers from across the country.
Our first trips early May were without rod and line and as expected it was pretty much stitched up but not just from crucian but carp anglers as well.
Struggling to get the enthusiasm required, as it would be a case of dropping into what ever swims we could, we decided to fish just short six hour sessions either side of darkness, a period that had served us well in previous years.
Tactics were to be different to most, as we knew if we were to use the so called going method, flat bed feeder at thirty yards, then our results would be similar and with most anglers averaging just one crucian every 24 hours, this just wasn’t acceptable in our minds!
Our initial approach was to compress fine groundbait around an inline lead; fish sweetcorn soaked in Maize Syrup as bait and simply swing this out on a tight line allowing the ball to fall back slightly further out than the rod tip.
This worked on the first session with four crucians to 3 lb 10 oz along with four tench but it was noticeable how the swim died close in once darkness fell. This was unfortunate for Chris as he was unable to get to the lake till around 8pm and apart from the odd crucian and tench was unable to capitalise on the best feeding period.
Most of the long stay anglers seemed intent on trying to attract every crucian into their swim and spod/spomb out huge amounts of bait, happy to sit on it for days on end in the hope that a shoal of fish would turn up, however with limited time we needed something different and something that would work after dark. Our brains started to go into overdrive and then I remembered doing a feature at Old Bury Hill where the angler used a pellet cone for bream.
This method introduces a small amount of bait, just enough for a single fish to slurp up but one with a sting its tail, it seemed the perfect solution. Always looking at different ways to make Nash Bait work for us our minds were drawn to the Instant Action Crab and Krill Ball Maker Method Pellets, a product that had proved devastating when fed through a feeder for other species.
Initial trials checking the bait after it had been compressed within the cone and its breakdown time in the margins just screamed fish and eager to put the method into action we planned out next trip.
As always I arrived earlier than Chris, mid afternoon, and dropping into a swim on the railway bank soon had the bobbins screaming as well as angler’s heads turning. This was certainly the method, but could we keep it quiet.
Rigs were simple, 1.1oz in-line flat pear leads, quick change beads with three inch 5lb fluorocarbon hooklinks attached and size 16 micro barbed hooks tied knotless knot style with a tiny grain of sweetcorn mounted onto the hair.
A couple of made up spare hooklinks not only maximised the time our rigs were in the water but also kept the bright orange cone discretely out of sight from prying eyes and fishing like match men we were able to get into a routine of quickly swapping rigs, clipping up and casting every ten minutes or so.
Nash 10ft 1.75lb t/c rods were perfect as we knew they would be able to tame any tench or carp hooked but would also be forgiving enough to eliminate the small hooks pulling from the crucians delicate lips.
I’d also placed a Nash medium Clinger half an inch behind the lead to give the rig a bolt effect and even started to tie a green cotton hair to make the bait act naturally. This attention to detail certainly started to work as the following four six-hour sessions provided a further nine crucian to 3lb 13oz as well as 51 tench to 8lb 7oz and two carp!
Obviously I was getting some attention and made the mistake of leaving the bright orange cone and made up hooklinks on show when the bailiff checked my permit. Drawn to these items I showed him how they worked along with bending into another fish as we spoke, before asking if he could keep this trick to himself.
Fortunately the crucians had now spawned and with the specimen anglers heading for pastures new I became somewhat lapsed in keeping things to myself but not before one last visit. It was a busy Friday afternoon and once again I dropped into a swim on the railway bank.
Most anglers were struggling but one elderly gentleman seemed to be on the crucians and had taken eight feeder fishing red maggot.
I started catching tench before three crucians in quick succession turned up including the same fish that had been caught a number of times spawned up at a new British record weight. Instantly recognisable from the two raised points on its tail I knew that this fish, even spawned out might make four, but never expected the Ruben dial to swing to 4lb 4oz, a new personal best by half an ounce!
We continue to visit Johnson’s on a regular basis, as we have done for many years and enjoy the rich rewards the water has to offer.
As for the deadly cone tactic, well let’s just say another tweak, one made by mistake has massively added to its catching potential and one that maybe revealed in a follow up article.
And the onsite tackle shop Apollo Angling… sales of pellet cones and Nash Instant Action Crab and Krill Ball Maker Method Pellets are at an all time high and keep the shelves full is proving difficult!
Duncan Charman is sponsored by Nash Tackle and Bait and has his own website www.duncancharman.co.uk He regularly contributes to top weekly, Anglers Mail magazine.
He is also an angling guide and can be booked on a daily basis for most species including carp, pike, perch, chub, catfish, barbel, bream, grass carp, crucians, roach, rudd, grayling, tench and golden orfe. For more information and prices email him at email@example.com or give him a call 07928 617006 / 01252 315271.
He’s also written a book called Evolution of an Angler which is available from www.calmproductions.com